Rodeo helps Darrington community recover from slide

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DARRINGTON — Fans were not disappointed with the first day of the Darrington Timberbowl Rodeo.

“I liked the bulls,” said Leilani Davis, who lives in Darrington.

For organizers, it was the people they liked seeing the most.

“We got a great turnout today,” said rodeo director Nick Bates.

The rodeo committee thought they’d have to cancel the yearly event after the Oso slide in March. They weren’t sure if Highway 530 would still be blocked, and they didn’t know if locals would be in the mood to celebrate. But it was locals who decided they wanted their summer events to go on.

“I think the community felt if we started cancelling things, it’d make it feel like the community was closing down,” said Bates.

The state gave the rodeo a $25,000 grant, and a local bank donated another $5,000 to get everything ready.

“We did this all in 2 weeks, replaced the bleacher boards, painted, replaced the siding, put new fencing around the arena.”

Fans say the effort was all worth it.

“It was emotional driving through the slide and then getting here,” said Nikki Starup, who drove in from Arlington.  “But it’s good to be out here, and see that people are moving on.”

“I know the rodeo the last couple years has not been doing the best. There haven’t been the most people around,” said Oso resident Cameron Smith. “So this was great, because we had so many people from out-of-town showing up. I think that’s really cool, to help local businesses and help what’s going on.”

The rodeo continues tomorrow at 2 pm. The grounds are located on Highway 530, three miles west of Darrington.

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